Warming river waters have prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release Chinook salmon and other fish in the rivers ahead of schedule.
Federal hatcheries are closely observing the rising temperature of river waters as a consequence of the increasing temperatures throughout the Pacific Northwest.
As rising temperatures are a stress factor for the upriver Chinook salmon, six million Chinook salmon have been released this week from the two federal hatcheries feeding into the Columbia River closeby White Salmon – Washington.
Previously, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service also ordered the release of approximately 200,000 steelhead in the Olympic Peninsula.
Another instance of precautionary fish release was registered with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Here, the federal hatchery at hand is Trask River Hatchery in the proximity of Tillamook.
Authorities issued statement explaining that the rising in river water temperatures leads to disease in the Chinook salmon population and not only. Eventually, it can lead to a great loss of fish throughout record high summer temperatures.
One instance at least has already been registered, with fish dying in the Northwest Pacific area, more specific off Portland Harbor.
Chinook salmon thrive in a water temperature of approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Reports of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service state that Columbia River is currently registering 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Releasing the Chinook salmon on time and not ahead of schedule would mean a decreasing population due to death.
Roy Elicker, assistant director for fisheries in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife regional service for the Pacific Region commented:
“Reduced snow pack and warmer weather have changed the aquatic environment, and we need to adapt our management”.
Thus far 2015 seems poised to be a record heat year with the third consecutive above-average summer temperatures.
Image Source: nymag.com